Today I wanted to have some fun and tell you about the Canaanite gods that helped inspire The Lady of Zion. I’ve gone over Asherah in quite a bit of detail in parts One and Two of Yahweh and His Asherah, so I won’t be going into depth on her today.
WARNING: I’ll try to put as few spoilers as possible in here, but there may be some Easter eggs or spoilers I can’t help. You’re warned. Also, not all these characters feature in the first couple of books, or even in the novels. Some have more prominent parts in the spin off stories I’m working on featured in The Love of A Goddess (a collection of short stories telling the history of The Lady of Zion Universe) and only minor appearances in the novels.
The major gods that feature across the series are (as the Canaanites are thought to have known them):
- Asherah Queen Goddess of the Sea, Mother of the Gods
- Baal Fertility and Storm God,
- Qadeshtu Love Goddess (in some places, also a title of Asherah)
- Nikkal-wa-lb Goddess of Orchards and Fruit
- El King of the Gods.
- Kothar-wa-Khasis God of Craftsmanship
- Mot God of Death
- Resheph God of Plague and Disease
- Shapash Goddess of the Sun
- Eshmun God of Healing
- Horon An Underworld God and twin brother of Melqart
- Melqart God of Tyre, the Underworld, Seasons, & twin of Melqart
- Yahweh Technically a Hebrew God, God of Storms and War. Worship of Yahweh appears to have been introduced to the Canaanites.
- Heqet Egyptian Fertility Goddess.
As far as I am aware she was not worshipped by the Ancient Canaanites.
The Canaanites had many more gods than this, but this list not only appears to cover the main deities worshipped, but covers the main aspects of life as ancient cultures understood them. You could almost delete the Ugarit names from the list and replace them with names from any ancient cult. I took some liberties with the functions and relationships of the Canaanite gods when I used them as inspiration for my stories.
Canaanite religion had several goddesses listed as the Queen of Heaven for starters. It’s unclear whether this is indicative in belief of a celestial harem (I doubt it), or whether there was belief in celestial divorce, similar to how the Greeks believed Zues had wives before Hera. There is some scholarly belief that these goddesses were all the same entity, with various titles. In my story Asherah is the second wife of El, the second wife of Mot, and the first wife of Yahweh (over the course of time not concurrently). She produces children with El, Mot, and her lover Azazel. Whether or not she has children with Yahweh you’ll have to read the series to find out.
Baal in The Lady of Zion, is one of the husbands of Lilith. He is aligned with the Araphel (the deities of the Underworld) although he is originally of the Elohim (the deities of Heaven).
Qadeshtu, El, Kothar-wa-Khasis, Mot, Horon and Melqart all play roles similar to the classical understanding of them. Heqet takes on a role much like Hekate of Greek myth.
Nikkal-wa-lb, shortened to Nikkal, appears to be a minor goddess in antiquity but in my story she is the spurned first wife of El. Her rivalry with Asherah is a major point in The Love of A Goddess, and influences the events of The Deception.
Yahweh, is the prevailing god that survived antiquity, with the exception of Baal. Our current understanding comes through the Judeo-Christian understanding as the monotheistic “God”. In The Lady of Zion he is the antagonist of the story, not necessarily evil, but the “bad guy” from the main cast’s point of view.
Resheph becomes a major character, and his story is a major plot point) starting in the third book. While he makes appearances under another name (as do most of the mention Ugarit deities) in the first two books, it’s not until The Curse of Resheph-Mot (The Lady of Zion #3) that we explore his role in the drama.
Shapash is one of the few goddesses we know by name from the beginning of the story. While she is not under Yahweh’s amnesia spell, she is considering “missing” and her interference in Grace’s life is a major factor in the progression of Grace’s adventure. Her story is not what you’ll think it will be.
Can you figure out which characters of The Lady of Zion are which disguised gods?